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Estonian President's Ukraine visit to include Donbass region

Ukrainian soldier in Donbass region (archive photo)
Ukrainian soldier in Donbass region (archive photo) Source: AFP/Scanpix

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid is on an official visit to Ukraine starting today. Her itinerary for the 22-24 May trip includes a visit to the war-torn Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, and comes at a time when the situation there has been worsening.

President Kaljulaid is due to meet with Ukraininan Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, and the Chairman of the Ukraininan Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) Andri Parubi today, according to the President's communications department.

She is also scheduled to meet her counterpart Petro Poroshenko on Thursday, 24 May after which a press conference will be held.

The Estonian President will also give the closing speech at the Estonian-sponsored "Women in Business" event, as well as opening the Estonian-Ukrainian business seminar, meeting with the Head of Ukrainian National Anti-corruption Office, Artem Sytnik, and various other Ukrainian figures from the world of commerce, politics etc.

The official visit will be topped off by the Champions' League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Olympic stadium in Kiev where Ms. Kaljulaid will be the guest of President Poroshenko.

However a renewal of hostilities in the Donbass in recent days has marred proceedings somewhat, not least since Ms. Kaljulaid is also scheduled to visit the region.

Two civilians have reportedly been killed with a further four wounded near the village of Pivdenne/Chyhyri, Kiev has announced.

This brings the total of deaths due to hostilities over the past five days between pro-Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the region to nine.

Kaljulaid is scheduled meet with the Governor of Harkiv Oblast whilst in eastern Ukraine, toget a chance to observe at first hand the situation there regarding humanitarian aid and reconstruction. The Estonian Head of State will also visit the staff of the Joint Forces Operation in Eastern Ukraine whilst in the Donbass.

For security reasons the precise locations she will be visiting in Eastern Ukraine have not been disclosed.

The Head of State will be accompanied during her visit to Ukraine by a delegation including Estonian Mps Eerik-Niiles Kross and Johannes Kert, and Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Jonatan Vseviov. The President visited Greece last week.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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